An Unnoticed Result of the 2010 Elections
An article in the latest (Sept 12th 2011) issue of The Nation is worth summarizing and remembering. Titled ‘Rural Rebellions’, it contains analysis of subtle but encouraging statistical voting trends in rural counties that traditionally vote Republican. This is a demographic Democrats sorely need to win in Congress as well as the Red states legislatures.
Gov. Walker, theWisconsinposter boy for radical right overreach, has been portrayed in the media as having weathered the storm. The recall elections added Democratic legislators but did not change the balance of the legislature. Here’s a glimpse at the rest of the iceberg:
A Wisconsin Republican who voted with the Democrats on the hated bill eliminating collective bargaining may continue to neutralize the Republican majority.
Walkernow has approval ratings lower than Obama’s. He will surely face recall as soon as he completes the time served needed to qualify for a recall effort.
Ohio’s Gov. Kasich faces a November referendum that inOhiolaw allows voters to override new legislation signed into law by the governor that under-minds collective bargaining inOhio. 1.3 million signatures (4X the minimum needed) were rapidly collected after Kasich and the legislature copiedWisconsin.
New Hampshireswung Republican in 2010, but Democrats are winning the special elections that have come up as legislative vacancies occur, probably sustaining the Governor’s veto of NH anti union bills.
Maine’s crazed new Gov. LePage is inspiring 20% spikes in Democratic vote totals where special election candidates pledge to fight the Governor. Wins are mounting in these special election opportunities.
Here’s the important neglected point: Most of this Democratic backlash in these battleground states is occurring in rural counties. Republican overreach is moving the Republican base away from the Republican party. InWisconsinthe numbers were – 23 of 40 traditional Republican counties went Democratic with 4 more almost there at 49% of votes cast.
The big deal is that Democratic setbacks in 2010 came from rural areas – 39 US House seats (2/3rds of Republican gains in the house) came from these rural counties that flipped to Republican in 2010. There’s a lot of hints most rural areas may be backing away from those voting decisions based on the horror show that resulted. Schools and services are the backbone of rural America stability and strength. That’s the ‘third rail’ the big money election influencer’s neglected to understand.
Obama and the Washington Democrats still don’t get what’s going on here. Clear messaging from Democratic incumbents and challengers asking voters “What side on you on?” regarding defending rural schools and teachers – that is working awesomely in the heartland. If the cities continue to be the stronghold of Democratic strength and significant gains are made in the ‘heartland’ counties ofAmericathe damage can begin to be undone. Remember, districting of congressional seats has traditionally allowed rural areas to have a bigger influence than the raw population would indicate.
Seems we still have a hearing problem inWashington. Fortunately, it seems overreach is still a good way to screw up in this country. Oh, about Union Meister Hoffa’s recent remarks about taking the country back from the wingnuts: Strong words are not hurting the Democratic cause – so why not use them?